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Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 1989;59(2):140-6.

Vitamin E and selenium in preterm infants: lack of effect on clinical patency of ductus arteriosus.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, State University of New York Health Science Center, Brooklyn.


Levels of antioxidant defenses, which include vitamin E and Se-dependent GSH-Px, are generally relatively low in the fetus and neonate. Se-dependent GSH-Px and vitamin E are known to modulate biosynthesis of eicosanoids and therefore could have the potential for affecting patency or closure of the ductus arteriosus after birth. We evaluated some indices of antioxidant defense in sick LBW infants in relationship to one another as well as to clinical PDA, and investigated the effects of producing a rapid rise in serum vitamin E levels in some of these infants. Twenty-nine sick preterm infants (B. W. 750-1750 g) were randomized into control and vitamin E supplemented groups; the latter received dl-alpha-tocopherol IM., commencing within 12 hours of birth, to a total dosage of 175 mg/kg over four weeks. Most E-supplemented infants attained serum tocopherol levels greater than 0.50 mg/dl (12 mumol/l) within 24 hours of the first dose. Vitamin E supplementation did not influence clinical patency or closure of the ductus arteriosus, and no correlation could be established between serum levels of alpha-tocopherol, Se, GSH-Px or NPS and PDA. At 4 weeks vitamin E-supplemented infants had serum levels of the other antioxidant indices that were not significantly different from the non-supplemented babies.

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